A perfect cure - EU move on drug prices

IT is, of course, easy to dismiss as far too expensive a drug that might cost an estimated €158,000 a year per patient.

That dismissal, naturally, would be unacceptable if you or one of your loved ones needed such a life-saving drug — personal circumstances are everything.

This issue has resurfaced because the cystic fibrosis drug Orkambi had been judged uneconomic by the National Centre for Pharmaeconomics, the government body which evaluates the medical and economic case for new drugs. That is a difficult debate as it puts a monetary value on a life and it will never be resolved.

However, Health Minister Simon Harris’ suggestion that drugs be bought on an EU-wide basis in an effort to reduce health costs seems practical and commendable. It also celebrates the idea of community central to the tottering European project.

But most of all, that spectacular buying power might make drugs now out of reach available to those who might benefit from them. A prize worth fighting for.


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